Windows long battery life, non-touch 13"-15" laptop for 3D game dev - <£700 - any ideas?

Discussion in 'Which Laptop should I buy?' started by mulder, May 17, 2015.

  1. mulder

    mulder

    Joined:
    May 17, 2015
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi all,

    I'm looking for a laptop for Unity development, 2D/3D animation and programming. Been reading around the forums and I'm hoping one of you knowledgable bunch will have the perfect sugggestion for me. ;)

    I can't afford to spend as much as I'd like to and understand I'll have to compromise on some of this but my ideal laptop would have:
    • At least 256MB of SSD storage
    • A high quality monitor for my animation work - 1080p minimum resolution and IPS
    • An excellent keyboard for hours spent coding (and a good trackpad as I will often be mouse-less)
    • 10 hours plus battery life when under reasonable load (eg Photoshop or game dev & testing)
    • 6GB RAM minimum, largely due to Photoshop
    • A good i5/i7 - probably Broadwell due to battery requirement
    • Dedicated graphics... though I know for budget and battery this might be pushing my luck >,<
    • 2+ USB3 ports, HDMI and decent built in WiFi
    • Style isn't important but build quality is. Weight isn't a concern within reason.
    My hunt is still in its earliest stages but as for what I've already looked at...
    • Dell XPS13, looks amazing, but it's out of budget
    • Asus Zenbook UX303 looked promising but is a little low on storage at 128GB (and the Zenbook UX305's processor looks a little weak)
    • There's a Scan system I got really excited about but found it is no longer on their site
    • Currently looking at Lenovo's offerings with Thinkpads but found they get pricey fast in their config builder...
    And that lot have really been the best I've found... :(

    Anyway - I'm still searching but hey, can't hurt to ask!
    Thanks for reading and hope to see your toughts :)
    Mulder
     
    mulder, May 17, 2015
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. mulder

    Ian Administrator

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2012
    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    26
    Welcome to the forums mulder!

    I've had a good look around, but I can't see anything that meets all of your requirements, it may be that you need to compromise somewhere - or buy a lower spec laptop and upgrade the HDD to an SSD... or perhaps an SSHD.

    If you had to reduce your requirements to just a few things, which are the key points? That may help us find things that offer a good compromise :)

    This is the closest I can find off the shelf that meets most of your specs, but it's £100 over budget:
    http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/lapto...re-r7-371t-13-3-2-in-1-grey-10105131-pdt.html

    If you drop the SSD requirement and are happy with an SSHD instead, then you can meet most requirements for close to £500-600 :). Alternatively, you could buy a powerful laptop with a slower HDD and then buy an SSD to upgrade the laptop for about £80.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2015
    Ian, May 20, 2015
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. mulder

    mulder

    Joined:
    May 17, 2015
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Ian - it's really nice of you to go out of your way like that, I was only even hoping for suggestions from people of laptops they own. :)

    The SSD is largely for durability and battery life so an SSHD would defeat the point for me (SSD's responsiveness is a perk though)... I'd consider it a priority item... I have been considering installing an SSD myself, I'm just worried about voiding warranties and, in a lot of cases, how easy it'll be to open the laptop and swap components out. I can't help thinking many will be made intentionally difficult to disassemble and some may even have soldered components (though soldered in harddrives seems unlikely). I have also been checking out refurbished laptops. This definitely brings the things I want closer to budget but the selection is made much narrower and I'm finding it difficult to find anything in refurb above entry level that doesn't sport a touch screen.

    The laptop you've linked to does look pretty awesome (assuming the keyboard is good, I'll read more reviews if I really need to up my budget and come back to it) but if I at all can I want something without a touch-screen. It probably sounds silly skipping over good buys just because they have a feature but I do have a number of reasons for wanting to avoid them, chiefly: unnecessary battery drain, colour accuracy and brightness reduction and not being able to get fluff off the screen. That last one really annoys me, more than I know it should. :D

    Priorities...
    It's difficult... between programming and creative work work my needs are pretty diverse... I can't get around battery life either, which doesn't help. As I've said, the SSD and my interest in Broadwell are at least partially down to that.

    Graphics are less of a priority. The only gaming I'll be doing on it is developing and testing my own games, so a modern CPU's integrated graphics should really be plenty (and if not I'm terrible games developer). The keyboard is important to me though because I'll be spending hours just typing. A shoddy trackpad is annoying but a shoddy keyboard would be terrible.

    I think I may have to drop my 'no touchscreen' requirement and just turn off all the touch features. This is really frustrating though since touchscreens are more expensive than non-touch - I'll effectively be paying for a feature that only serves to annoy me. :mad:


    You can probably tell I'm struggling here. Haha.

    Thanks again for taking the time to help me though,
    Mulder
     
    mulder, May 20, 2015
    #3
  4. mulder

    Ian Administrator

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2012
    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    26
    I wouldn't worry about the difficulty of swapping over an HDD for an SSD, I'm yet to see a Windows OS laptop that doesn't make it easy :).

    I'll post back if I spot anything else that would fit the bill, perhaps some others have an idea too.

    If you find anything that comes closer, please do post the links up! :D
     
    Ian, May 21, 2015
    #4
  5. mulder

    mulder

    Joined:
    May 17, 2015
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Ian :)

    I will do - and I'll come back and write a brief review once I've found something and had it a few days. It'd be useful to someone or other I'm sure.

    Right now I'm thinking Dell Outlet is my best bet. I'm keeping an eye on Lenovo's outlet store too but there's less selection and they're more expensive... There are definitely more options available if I can fit my own SSD, I'll try calling them up over the weekend if I'm blessed with some free time and check I'll be able to do it without voiding warranty. I also need to wait for the right buy to come up

    I also have a thread on notebook review's forums (it looked like I might not get a response here at first - I was too impatient though, clearly). Anyway, someone there also seemed to think Dell outlet was my best bet so I am hopeful. Another person suggested battery life was going to be the big problem. It is a bit but my biggest problem is actually the touch screen. >,< In case anyone is looking for the same thing and might find it useful - here's a link.


    edit:
    Now you've reassured me on swapping out the hard drive it seems a lot of options have opened up. Been put off Lenovo's E550 by mixed reviews, though it looked pretty perfect at first, and now I'm checking out HP's offerings. :)
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
    mulder, May 21, 2015
    #5
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.